The good and the bad of flying by yourself

A shot of the Colorado landscape taken by sophomore and Prowl reporter Gabby Paterson on her solo return flight from Orlando, FL.

Gabby Paterson

A shot of the Colorado landscape taken by sophomore and Prowl reporter Gabby Paterson on her solo return flight from Orlando, FL.

I was 16 years old and all alone with absolutely nothing familiar in sight. 

For spring break, I had the opportunity to travel to New Smyrna Beach, FL, to visit my aunt and uncle. At first, all I could think about were the positives of going to Florida, but after a couple weeks, the thought of going completely and utterly alone finally planted itself in my mind. 

Luckily, I made it back without being murdered, kidnapped or robbed, so I feel qualified to give other lone travelers the following tips:

  1. Don’t talk to strangers. This is obvious. If you travel alone, please do not talk to the sketchy person you’re waiting in line with at  the overly expensive airport coffee shop. If you have a question, ask someone who works at the airport because they actually know what they’re doing, though there is a decent chance they will not brighten your day. 
  2. Display some confidence. In order to make your experience less stressful and reduce anxiety, make sure you understand and know where you’re going. In other words, know your gates, where your boarding passes are and any other pertinent information. You’ll actually know what you’re doing and not embarrass yourself by asking stupid questions that could be answered without the airport workers.
  3. Please wear your mask. The flight attendants are not always kind, and if you are not wearing a mask, they will become even more snippy and glare at you the entire flight. Stay on their good side, so you do not have to deal with the angry, passive aggressive flight attendants. You might even get a full can of soda for your cooperation.
  4. Take lots of pictures. You may look like a dorky tourist, but pictures make your trip memorable and give you something to show your jealous friends back home. And honestly, who cares what people think? You are most likely never going to see them again, so do yourself a favor and take some pictures. 
  5. Buy lots of snacks and drinks. If you do not come to the airport prepared, you better be ready to spend an absurd amount of money on airport food. I learned this the hard way by buying a $4 package of sour gummy worms that originally would be about $2. Another necessity for long flights is caffeine so go get yourself that Starbucks coffee you definitely will not regret it. Unless you get too large of a size and then you might regret it. 

If you want to improve your upcoming travel endeavors, use these tips so you have an enjoyable time. Mind your own business. Appear confident. Wear your mask. Take tons of cloud and landscape photos. And load up on junk food — before you get to the airport. Trust me. I speak from experience.

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